I am in a dilemma as to how to approach this issue. Basically, myself and another student were assigned the same thesis topic. Only difference is, I have been doing it part time and she completed her in 2017. We both were liaised by the same co-superviser who has now left the university.

The whole thesis is the same. I do not just want to re-word her thesis, because I actually want to learn something. However at the same time, I have had a lot of busy months at work and because of that I have been lagging behind in my thesis.

She did some simulations and produced some results and discussed it. My simulations are the same as well. So, it is Okay that I replicate the results using my own simulations (even though its the same)? Or do I have to do something completely new? The literature review part is going to be similar as the topic is similar. I personally think, there isn't much I can do differently besides explaining the same results in my own way.

  • 2
    (1) How far into the work are you? Would it be reasonable for you to switch topics completely, or have you invested a lot of time already? (2) Who is following you now that the supervisor has left the university? (3) When did you start your thesis, before or after her? Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 16:02
  • I have spent about 600 hours into this. I am supposed to submit the work around now. But, requested extension due to the gap this year. We both started the thesis together . We were assigned the thesis around the same time. The supervisor is still around, the co-supervisor has left whom I was mostly liaising with. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 16:06
  • 1
    Relevant related question academia.stackexchange.com/questions/27779/…
    – JoshuaZ
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


The answer is very simple: ask your current supervisor and be completely transparent with them about the situation. Whatever is acceptable to them is the right answer. Standards for masters theses are much more flexible and inconsistent than for doctoral theses, so, for all practical intents and purposes, whatever your supervisor approves is acceptable. (But this assumes that you are absolutely transparent and do not withhold any information about the situation from them.)

But be sure to email a recapitulation of their response to them and let them reply, confirming that you have understood their resolution correctly. That way, you have an official written record with dates so that there is no forgetfulness or confusion in the future. (In fact, that's a general tip for any important verbal conversation throughout your professional life.)

  • 5
    "whatever your supervisor approves is acceptable" I guess that varies between universities. Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 10:06
  • 5
    +1 "Standards for masters theses are much more flexible". Indeed, some masters theses may contain no new research and instead are an exposition of some previous work by some other authors.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 13:01
  • 2
    @AnonymousPhysicist given that my brother got screwed out of a master's because, essentially, his supervisor and the university disagreed on what was required I would agree. Personally I would also check with the graduate program director, or some kind of similar position within the department
    – llama
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 16:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .